Erasmus Darwin’s Birthday 12th December 1731

We shouldn’t let the day pass without a thought for Erasmus Darwin, whose birthday it is today.

Erasmus Darwin by Joseph Wright of Derby 1792 (WikiCommons)
Erasmus Darwin by Joseph Wright of Derby 1792 (WikiCommons)

Erasmus was born on 12th December 1731, at Elston Hall in Nottinghamshire.

During his seventy year span, Charles’s illustrious grandfather made more and varied contributions to the world of ideas than many today would guess – if they’ve even heard of him.

Erasmus is also of course the spirit behind Zoonomian; here are a couple of earlier posts that sum up his achievements and involvements:

The Other Darwin Genius

Unweaving the Waterfall – Erasmus Darwin at Vauxhall Gardens  (per my  talk at the Foundling Museum in June)

Erasmus Darwin House in Litchfield (Photo:Tim Jones)
Erasmus Darwin House in Litchfield (Photo:Tim Jones)

Erasmus set up his medical practice in Litchfield, where he lived from 1756 to 1781.  His house, now the Erasmus Darwin House Museum, is close to the magnificent cathedral, and well worth a visit.  (Samuel Johnson also lived in Litchfield, so you can visit his house while you’re there.)

Litchfield Cathedral (Photo: Tim Jones)

Erasmus spent the last two years of his life at Breadsall Priory, where he died on April 18th 1802, aged 70.

Breadsall Priory, where Erasmus Darwin died in 1802 (Photo permission S.Klinge)

To round off, here are three excellent and recent videos on Erasmus courtesy of History West Midlands:

Erasmus Darwin at The Heart of The Litchfield Enlightenment

The Litchfield Enlightenment

Erasmus Darwin The Scientist


3 thoughts on “Erasmus Darwin’s Birthday 12th December 1731”

      1. Hi Patrizia, thanks for your note and kind comments about the blog. Also for the link to your post, which thanks to Google Translate I could read!

        I think Erasmus was popular in Italy in his day; one of earliest translations of Zoonomia was an Italian edition.

        Best regards


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